This includes towns with such names as Langton, Clear Creek, Port Dover, Walsingham, Simcoe and Delhi. Basically, near the bottom left corner of this map:
My finger marks the spot.
I think that God is showing me that I'm in the right place at the right time by putting the right people and events in my path. For example, I just discovered that my uncle and aunt will be traveling to the same country as me next week at the same time. And last week, my friend Aine, who I traveled with to Japan, Italy, France and Ireland, was on the same flight as me coming home from Los Angeles last week. Then this week, I was home for my friend's baby's baptism and the SOCIAL EVENT OF THE SEASON: The CWL Bazaar.
First, the baptism. There were two babies being baptized and they were from the VanOoteghem and Vandendriessche clans. (Ten points each for correct spelling.)
I went all the way through school with these people. We're talking kindergarten to high school graduation. My friend, Michel, whom I haven't seen since graduation, looked at me and said, "You haven't changed a bit!"
I love me a good baptism. It's a beautiful welcoming into the church. And with the priest at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, the whole affair is very Lion King:
Next event, drum roll please... the CWL Bazaar. This annual event is put on by the Catholic Woman's League. It's a fundraiser at the local banquet hall. Highlights include:
Your goodie table:
Your aunt working the coffee machine:
A lunch of ham, scalloped potatoes and a salad of sorts:
And a lot of sweet old ladies.It's a sodium rich community.
A few rounds of BINGO!
And my wonderful friend Bernadette who has run the rummage table for 20 years:
Bernadette and I met at this very rummage table years ago. We've been writing letters back and forth ever since. How beautiful is she?
I sat with Bob and Georgette at lunch. They fed me countless meals in high school. I said to them, "You haven't changed a bit!" Bob replied, "Because we've always looked old!"
Looking great after all these years.
And then there is the ever-popular Penny Raffle table. Prizes include windshield washer fluid from the local gas station, ball caps from the local freight company and shampoo from the local hairdresser.
A fiver can go a long way at the Penny Raffle.
In the end, I won a plant from the door prize. It sits happily on my mother's coffee table. Score!
Throughout the weekend, I bounced around with my mom and aunts. I'd slip in the pew next to my one aunt at church and slide in next to my other aunt on our way to brunch after church. It was as if I never left.
But there are signs that something has changed.
On Sunday night we had a family dinner. I sat on the one end of the table with my niece doing a jigsaw puzzle as my sisters sat on the other end talking about local restaurants and grocery stores. I couldn't contribute. I was actually grateful to be occupied with the puzzle, quietly listening to their conversation, hoping they didn't notice my silence.
Though a lot has stayed the same, like the CWL Bazaar, a lot has changed, too, over the past 11 years while I've been gone. Like my ability to share tidbits about a common geography.
It's not sad. It just is what it is. They share about what they have in common. I tell them about my life. It's different, but a natural progression of how life goes when one chooses to live a different life far away.
So I've been toggling between being grateful for what hasn't changed and acceptance of how things have changed. And it's good prep work for being from somewhere else wherever I roam.